Archive for March, 2014

Naturally, once the keelson with the stem and sternpost were glued on I had to spring a batten through the shearline, bend over, and look at the shear with my head upside down. With the batten sprung through the locations on each frame dictated by the lofting, the shearline looked quite fair. With that out of the way, I thought I was just about ready to begin planking. You know, beveling and scarfing had to happen first, but the planks would be flying on within a day or two, right? Well, it turns out beveling takes time, and though I might have wished it had taken less time, I get the distinct impression that it it time well spent. I broke out two bevel squares, a sharp one inch chisel, my Stanley number 4, and set to work.



After many hours of moving the batten from chine to chine, just above a chine to below a chine, springing the batten back around spots to double check my work, and finding the proper angle to work each various spot of grain on each frame, pieced together stem or stern post, keelson and bulkhead, the beveling is done.20140328-113008.jpg

Beveling the number 2 and number 4 frames provided a distinct satisfaction as the lamination lines showed up as these wonderfully nested eliptic curves within each angled facet of the curved frames. The juxtaposition of the angular beveling, which reminded me of the facets on a finely cut jewel, with the curves of the inner surface and the lamination lines on the facets is really beautiful, and was a very pleasant surprise.


Working the curve of the step and stern posts was also an interesting challenge, and I’m pleased with the results. I found that starting with a sharp chisel for heavier removal of matterial, followed by smoothing the curve with a sharp plane to be a fairly efficient method. Depending on the grain and angle I was working at I would often return to the chisel for finishing touches.20140328-112641.jpg


Somewhere in there I also scarfed the wood for the garboards. It also turns out that with everything set up, its hard to create 16 feet of length within the shop. I planed the three inch scarfs down, starting with my Stanley number 4 and fine tuning the surfaces with my old Stanley number 6. Its a good thing 3/8 inch plywood is as flexible as it is, otherwise I don’t know how I would have glued it together, but I managed.


20140328-113112.jpgSomewhere along the way I started thinking about my future need to plane the gains in the planks and my lack of a suitable rabbet plane. Well, not entirely true. I have rabbet planed available to borrow from the Wind and Oar Boat School, and there was also that old Stanley 78 hidden in the back of a drawer that I had. Hidden because it was too shameful to look at. At some point as a kid I acquired it, including the old Sweetheart Stanley 78 including depth stop and fence, but I never had many uses for it at the time. It spent a long period of time in a wooden box, and at some point that box attracted some moisture, and somewhere over the intervening years almost every surface without the black paint proceeded to rust. It was painful to look at and I didn’t know how to fix it, and apparently didn’t have the incentive to do so until now.

Last weekend I was talking with a guy while working on the Crosby Catboat owned by the Wind and Oar Boat School. He suggested using a toilet bowl cleaning product called “The Works.” So I tried it. I dismantled the old plane, and put it into a solution of water and this product. After about a half hour I started removing pieces and scrubbing them down with a wire bristled brush. Bit by bit the rust started coming off. With just a few hours work, the old plane is no longer something I need to feel ashamed of! Too keep the parts from rusting again, I quickly dried all the pieces in a toaster oven set to the lowest temperature and rubbed them all down with a fine coating of grease. I sharpened the blade, reassembled the whole thing, and it looks ready to begin cutting gains!



Gotta love the old script used for the Stanley logo on this vintage of the Stanley 78. Anyone know for which years they were marked this way? It doesn’t have the blade adjustment lever, but the blade does have the heart logo on it.20140328-112908.jpg

Next step: Patterning planks!



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Its been a long time since I posted, and one of the reasons is that I have wanted to share some memories and thoughts about my grandfather. He passed away in early February at 96 years old. For the time being, suffice it to say that he inspired much of my love for the outdoors and interest in the natural environment. I think of him when I out hiking, backcountry skiing, or kayaking, and he will be missed.

For the moment however, I would like to take a moment to provide an update on the Shearwater, because resumed after the whales went on display, and I want to have it ready for the coming summer! Being off of crutches as well as back in matching footwear has helped progress considerably! Though I may not be as much further along as I would like, things are quite different in the basement, and I feel like momentum is building!

Last time I posted an update, I was still laminating frames. All the frames have since been completed, with laminations cleaned up, and filler blocks added to complete the shape of each frame. They were mounted on 1×2 pine crosspieces in order to be attached to the strongback. Its always so tempting to start setting pieces up before you can actually put them together.


The keel was cut, and stems built up. Instead of laminating the stems, because I don’t particularly like laminating things, I decided to build the stem and stern post out of three pieces each. The pieces for the stem can be seen laid out below. I cut them out wide, planed the laps down to shape, but left the rest of the shaping for after gluing and planing down to thickness.


Plywood stations were cut for near the bow and stern. Here I am deviating from Joel White’s plans. He suggests building the boat completely open with diagonal ‘rangs’ in the bow and stern. I decided early on that I wanted watertight compartments in the bow and stern instead. To make sure I am still supporting the shape near the ends I decided to build the boat with vertical plywood stations. The lower half of these stations will become permanent bulkheads inside of the compartments, while the upper part, which has already been partially cut off for convenience, will be removed (Dovetail tape? Really? Yes, it was all I could find, but where did it even come from?). The plywood is very thin, so I added additional blocks to provide clamping surfaces or thickness for screwing if needed.


The keel, stem and stern post were glued together. All the pieces of each are cvg fir that has been planed down to an inch and a quarter in thickness.


Once the backbone was fully assembled, it was time to lift the lofting off the floor and to build the strongback! Its great to finally have the drawings off of the floor. They were driving me a bit nuts! Joseph helped me build a 13′ 10″ ladder frame out of 2x4s for the strongback, which was topped with 3/4 inch particle board. The frames were mounted, and braced square. After checking some final measurements, and a few adjustments with a chisel, I got the keel glued to the frames. The boat is finally taking something more than a two dimensional shape!


My bracing may be overkill, and I’m okay with that.20140319-232330.jpg20140319-232352.jpg


As soon as I scarf a some plywood, and bevel the keel and frames, planking can begin! Yippee!

Oh, and I called my landlord. I now actually have his permission to remove the window that will have to come out when the boat is completed. I’m pretty happy about that.

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